The final day of FIH Hockey Pro League action from Christchurch saw New Zealand and Australia take on each other in both men’s and women’s competition. It was the men’s teams going head-to-head first with the Kookaburras winning a closely contested match 4-2. The women’s match was an uncanny resemblance of the reverse fixture between the two teams as New Zealand took a first quarter lead; but goals in the third and fourth quarter for the Hockeyroos earned them a 2-1 victory that takes them to the top of the women's FIH Hockey Pro League standings!

(Men’s) New Zealand vs Australia 2-4

Jack Welch opened the scoring early for Australia, easily deflecting Jake Harvie’s cross into the circle, right in front of the goal. New Zealand were back level instantly as Sharp was caught in possession inside his own circle and while Durst saved the first shot by Child, the rebound fell to Kingstone and he put it in the back of the goal. Australia were back in the lead through a quick counter attack in the 19th minute, as Josh Beltz found Rintala with a delightful crossfield pass from the half-line and his cross into the circle from the right was deflected into the goal by Ky Willott. 

Kookaburras coach, Colin Batch, spoke about winning more penalty corners during the half-time interview and his team obliged in the second half. A string of penalty corners midway through the third quarter brought a third goal for Australia through a Joel Rintala drag flick. Simon Child brought New Zealand back into the game scoring their second goal through a penalty stroke at the very end of the third quarter, but Aran Zalewski responded right at the start of the final quarter to peg New Zealand back before they could begin their search for an equaliser, sealing a good win for the visitors. 

Lachlan Sharp was awarded player of the match and said: “We knew New Zealand would give us everything they have in their final home match of the season, so it was good to come out with a win in the end. Happy with the 8 points from this mini-tournament. We are a relatively young team and we are going to keep improving.”

(Women’s) New Zealand vs Australia 1-2

Australia started the game brightly but New Zealand survived the early onslaught and started to claw their way into the game in the back half of the first quarter. The opening goal of the game was scored by the Black Sticks as Hannah Cotter found Olivia Merry all alone in the Australian circle, and she slotted the ball past the right boot of onrushing Jos Bartram with ease. Australia won multiple penalty corners in the second quarter but New Zealand defended well and took their lead into the half-time interval. 

Australia kept grinding in attack and their efforts finally paid off in the final minute of the third quarter as Courtney Schonell dived to deflect a drag flick from a penalty corner, right in front of Grace O’Hanlon, that lifted the ball over her stick and into the goal. Schonell then completed the Hockeyroos comeback in the final quarter, scoring her second goal, in the 50th minute. She received a cross from Renee Taylor at the penalty spot, spun around and buried a tomahawk while falling over to cap off a brilliant team move. New Zealand ramped up their press in search for an equaliser in the final quarter and had their best chance in the 58th minute through a penalty corner, but Olivia Merry’s hit deflected off Aleisha Power’s left boot and went just wide as the Hockeyroos held on to the lead and secured the three points. 

Courtney Schonell was awarded player of the match and said: “We stick to our process and support each other and that helped us get the win over a spirited New Zealand team. We have a European leg coming up and we are looking forward to keeping up the momentum.”


To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here. 


FIH Pro League – 30 April 2023

Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, Christchurch (NZL)


Result: Men’s Match 36

New Zealand 2-4 Australia

Player of the Game: Lachlan Sharp (AUS)

Umpires: Gareth Greenfield (NZL), Steve Rogers (AUS), Aleisha Neumann (AUS-video)


Result: Women’s Match 36

New Zealand 1-2 Australia

Player of the Game: Courtney Schonell (AUS)

Umpires: Amber Church (NZL), Aleisha Neumann (AUS), Emi Yamada (JPN-video)